Israeli Forensic Teams Describe Signs Of Torture, Abuse


Military forensic teams in Israel have examined the bodies of victims of last week’s Hamas attack on communities around the Gaza Strip and found multiple signs of torture, rape, and other atrocities, officers said on Saturday.

Around 1,300 bodies have been brought to an army base in Ramla in central Israel where forensic checks to determine the identity of the dead and the circumstances of their death are carried out by specialist teams.

Around 90% of the military dead have been identified and teams are halfway through identifying civilians, said Rabbi Israel Weiss, former army chief rabbi, one of the officials overseeing the identification of the dead. He said many bodies showed signs of torture as well as rape.

“We’ve seen dismembered bodies with their arms and feet chopped off, people that were beheaded, a child that was beheaded,” a reserve warrant officer identified only by her first name, Avigayil told reporters.

She said multiple cases of rape were found by forensic examination of the bodies, which had been stored in refrigerated containers.

“We do identification by all the means that we have,” said a military dentist, identified as Captain Maayan. “We see them in severe stages of abuse. We see gunshots and we see signs that are pure torture.”

The military personnel overseeing the identification process didn’t present any forensic evidence in the form of pictures or medical records.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, has denied accusations of abuse.

Hundreds of Hamas gunmen, some on motorcycles, broke through barriers around Gaza in the early hours of Oct. 7 and tore through nearby communities, attacking a large outdoor dance party as well as homes and military bases and abducting more than 120 Israelis and foreigners.

The brutal assault caused profound shock in Israel due to both the unprecedented number of dead in a single day as well as the horrifying footage that has emerged from the towns and kibbutzes that were overrun.

In response, Israeli jets and artillery have bombarded the Gaza Strip for days, killing more than 2,200 Palestinians and destroying thousands of buildings ahead of an expected ground invasion.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has compared Hamas to Islamic State, which gained worldwide notoriety for its campaign of public beheadings in countries like Syria and Iraq.

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